The Mover And Shaker

I’ve always been a very social person, so when my husband and I moved to the village seven years ago, I wanted to get involved in everything that was happening – which in the beginning, wasn’t a whole lot. I started a book club, I introduced a night once a month where we go to the theatre, I joined the choir – that was one of the first things I did and that’s still going really well – and you could say I’m on the social committee. Last night we had a soiree and invited a classical guitarist to come in and play for an hour. There were about fifty residents there, we had a glass of wine, and it was absolutely lovely. The average age in this village is about 84 and my main aim is to get everyone out of their homes, outside of their four walls, and get involved in things. The village is wonderful; the location was a selling point but also we’ve since discovered that it’s just so good to live here. It’s extremely well run, and you can be as independent or as involved in the community as you want.

 

I’ve always been a very social person, so when my husband and I moved to the village seven years ago, I wanted to get involved in everything that was happening – which in the beginning, wasn’t a whole lot. I started a book club, I introduced a night once a month where we go to the theatre, I joined the choir – that was one of the first things I did and that’s still going really well – and you could say I’m on the social committee. Last night we had a soiree and invited a classical guitarist to come in and play for an hour. There were about fifty residents there, we had a glass of wine, and it was absolutely lovely.

The average age in this village is about 84 and my main aim is to get everyone out of their homes, outside of their four walls, and get involved in things. The village is wonderful; the location was a selling point but also we’ve since discovered that it’s just so good to live here. It’s extremely well run, and you can be as independent or as involved in the community as you want.

Before I retired, I was in education – I worked at St Hilda’s Anglican School for Girls in Mosman Park for 21 years where I had multiple roles. I was a theatre arts and drama teacher, I taught the religious program, and English and did a lot of admin stuff as well, including running the school program. Basically, I’m a bit of an organiser.

It’s important to always learn something new. My husband is a tutor at Trinity School for Seniors and that’s the idea I’d like to get into this village; there are so many things you can be doing besides sitting in front of the dreaded television. Social engagement is vital and the village offers an ideal way for older people to stay connected.

I’m very active outside of the village too. I volunteer at the Mount Hospital, because my husband had open heart surgery last year and I was so impressed with them I wanted to give something back. I’m also a volunteer audio describer at the State Theatre, which means we audio describe productions to people who are blind. They wear an earpiece and we talk them through what’s happening on the stage, while it’s all happening.

I’m still connected with my old school, because I coordinate the Year 11 and 12 exams. You’re never too old to do anything. We have some terrific initiatives in the village to inspire people to be healthy. We have a yoga class and Tai Chi, and even a program designed to prevent falling down, which is crucial as you get older. We have a wonderful team of GPs who come in and encourage people to look after themselves. Keeping active and getting out every day is really important.

When you think about modern day in the suburbs, there’s not the connection that there used to be. People are so busy, especially the younger generation and older people can really feel isolated, especially if they lose a partner. We made the positive decision to get ourselves established here, so we have a support system and friends all around us.

Being involved with so many things keeps me motivated. I have been retired now for 11 years and there hasn’t been one day where I’ve said to myself in the morning, oh my goodness, what am I going to do? I still feel as though I’m a 30-year-old, and it comes down to having a good mental attitude. The most important things are to think positively, be open to new ideas and smile, every day.